Well I finally got out to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey today with Mrs. Rabbitman.
I have been looking forward to this movie for years and hoping, like many hobbitheads, that Jackson would take the project on after he finished with Lord of the Rings.
I just wanted a single fun movie, as well done as LOTR. That's all. It's a pretty simple tale, so one 3 hour movie is all you'd need right?
Then rumours came out about it being turned into two movies and I started to worry. Then I heard about the 3D and HFR (High Frame Rate) and got really worried. Would a good tale be lost in the movie tech?
I just wanted to see it in 2D at the normal speed, thanyouverymuch, we don't need anysillinessaroundhere! Plus I already wear eyeglasses, I didn't want to put 3D glasses overtop.
Alas it was not to be. The conventional screenings were limited and by the time my calendar cleared enough to go they had dried up. 3D HFR it was going to be.
My feelings after seeing it are a hearty Meh.
I liked the way they did the dwarves (although Thorin's beard was not long enough). I didn't mind the expansion of Radagast from a footnote to a comic character. Freeman's Bilbo was pretty good too. The treatment of the Necromancer, Saruman's duplicity and the poisoning of Mirkwood were well done.
I found however that there were too many scenes where they were showing off the 3D (do we need a panoramic shot of Bilbo running across Hobbiton?) and the HFR made everything look fake.
When I watch The Lord of the Rings on DVD (the extended director's cut of course) on my old TV, I get lost in Middle Earth. While watching The Hobbit I was constantly reminded that I was watching actors on a cheap set. During the scenes in Bag End I kept expecting an Ikea salesman to come on scene and make his pitch! And the scenes in Rivendell during the White Council just looked like a stage set for a BBC television production. In too many shots the layers were too obvious.
I also got tired of our heroes sliding about on out of control platforms and crashing from great heights onto rocks without getting hurt. Once is OK, but don't over do the gag. And then after all that Thorin gets cuffed by a warg and is mortally wounded? Really? REALLY? C'mon, he's tougher than that!
And what was up with the Goblin King's rather mellow voice? Had he gone to Eton? Was it Stephen Frye?
I guess I'll live with my disappointment. I will still buy the extended DVD when it comes out and see the next two installments. But it's not anywhere near as good as LOTR.
A very good movie got lost behind all the technology. Very disappointed.